Jason Garden Interview

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Hey everyone!

We are back with another review. This time you will get to read words from Jason Garden, author of You’re Not Dead. You can find my review here. Enjoy!

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1. First of all, I must say congratulations on the wedding! We could say you got married fairly young, is this maybe a reflex? That you now consider some things more important than you used to?
Thank you! I knew from the second I saw her that it was going to happen, so the time between asking and the ceremony felt like an eternity. As for my age regarding marriage: it is less of a big deal when one realizes that I am two years younger than her. She is over 30 and is very much ready for that part of her life to start. I am honoured that I can be apart of it and am excited to see what happens next.
 
2. Could you tell the readers who you are? What got you to the point where you are at right now in life?
I am Jason Garden. I am a nerd, have a sick sense of humour, and I am possibly the worst person to allow to express opinions on all things. I was in the independent music scene for ten years as a drummer and have been on nine albums. I used to run a really bad record label and an equally bad studio. I worked in retail for too long, was a manager of a music store for a year, then everything changed. I contracted Viral Meningoencephalitis back in 2013 and it resulted in me being in a wheelchair. I have been working my ass off to get back what I was accustomed to for 25 years.
3. And after all that, you decided to write a book titled You’re Not Dead. How come you decided to write down what happened? You know, you could have made videos and whatnot, but you chose to write. Why?
A part of the why I wrote the book was for myself. As much as I was in hospital for ten months, I was only in hospital for ten months: a lot happened. That coupled with the fact that I died twice, I found myself a year after being discharged from institution wondering what happened and not entirely sure who I was anymore.
 
4. Have you at any time felt that you maybe made the wrong decision? Was there maybe a thought that you are not that good of a writer, or what people would think of the book?
Writing the book? Not once. Some of my advertising tactics? Hell yes.
I have dropped websites because I could no longer afford them ALWAYS after doing some huge promotion for that site. I have spent hundreds of dollars on copies of books for reviewers, contests, and family.
Do I wish I knew what I know now when release first happened? Clichéd, but of course. Do I regret the fact that I am tens of thousands in debt to tell my tale? I really don’t. There is always the chance that what I wrote inspired a person or someone could relate to it. Even if that doesn’t happen for 20 years, it will.
 
5. The book was released last year and it basically covers your recovering process. You mentioned that your biggest wish is to be able to walk again. Has something happened in the last year regarding that? Any progress that maybe you could share with us?
To say that is my BIGGEST wish is a bit presumptive: It implies that nothing ever changes. Is it still a goal? Fuck yes. Is there much to share there? Fuck no.
Now, when I say that, it is not to say there isn’t advancement. After the initial few changes that were spectacles and grand, every change for a while has been “quiet.” That is, to say, I notice changes (like being able to stand longer, advancements in health, things like that). To the average on-looker, it would appear that nothing has changed. Am I still working towards walking? Yes. For “interesting” updates, look into my blog at wheelchairhero.com
 
6. Now, this is a book blog and I am sorry, but I have to return to the topic. Can we expect more books from you in the future? Maybe even books that are not necessarily connected to yourself?
I am working on a book right now, but I am only about 13,000 words in. I am writing a fiction, for once. I am very nervous about it, but I also REALLY like the tale. I just hope people do, as well.
 
7. Do you think that maybe there is not enough real stories, like yours, out there? Or do you maybe enjoy, for example, a fantasy novel more than one with a serious topic?
I think that showing a preference towards one or another is very subjective to the material. For my book, for instance, I tried to create an independent world from our own: A world self-contained. My reason to do so was to avoid having to describe situations and procedures that even I do not fully understand.
 
8. Most authors say that their books are their babies, which I totally agree with. But do you maybe have a favourite book that you enjoy and cherish even more than the one you wrote?
Two books come to mind that are very different from each other. The first is 1984 by George Orwell. It will forever be my favourite book. I just love how accurate it became and still remains.
The other book is jPod by Douglas Coupland. It’s about a bunch of people who work at a programming studio that focuses on video games. The book is funny and relatable.
9. Now, I want to give this question to each author, so you are getting it too: Let us say that you were given a magical pen. The first word you wrote down would immediately influence all people in the world. What would that word be? Why?
Loaded question. Just one word, eh? Probably “Remember.” I am half convinced that any sort of ignorance is due to forgetting the past. I am a huge fan of human history, especially in the realm of Religion and Politics.So many modern blunders seem to be a rehash of a mistake from the distant past. So many stupid things that people say are just from a disregard for situations that are just past. TO MAKE CLEAR: I am not excluding myself from this. The amount of times I will say something to my wife where she simply replies with “You’re going to say that again?” is embarrassing to admit.
 
10. I am sure people would like to know more about you, or maybe talk to you regarding the illness, maybe even for an advice. Where can people find you and contact you?
As I mentioned prior, my site is www.wheelchairhero.com. Yes, I chose that URL because of the irony of it. I do not see myself as a hero. I rarely ask for praise for doing the norm and, therefore, picked the name due to its irony. I feel as if I have slowed on the medical as of late, and have been focusing more on day-to-day stuff. I try to do a very off-topic on the last Sunday of every month to stretch my mind. I seem to talk a lot about music and things of that nature.
I also have a very sick sense of humour. Often, I laugh while I write about things of situations. Usually, I am the only person who finds the humour in anything I speak of.
FOR EXAMPLE: I am very VERY honoured that I was asked to take part in this line of questioning. Due to the surreal nature of it, though, I am howling my way through the questions.
I think that is how I have been able to survive all the situations that I have been through in my 27 years of life: I am amazed at the selfish actions made by those around me. I find my continued existence hilarious. The outlandish things that people complain about or draw attention to is so astonishing to me.
Thank you Jason!
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You’re Not Dead by Jason Garden

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buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Paperback: US$12.41 (Free shipping)
Hardback: US$27.78 (Free shipping)

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You’re Not Dead chronicles its Hero’s travels during his ten-month hospitalization, beginning with his viral meningoencephalitis, and ending with his struggle to regain his life and independence. Acerbic and illuminating, You’re Not Dead pulls the reader into the Hero’s lived experience, while peeling away the layers of politeness we often use when discussing disability. The Hero is brutally honest as he writes of his journey through the medical system. He speaks of overwhelming pessimism, of pronouncements from “on high” made with little knowledge of his condition or progress, and of being spoken at, rather than being spoken to. You’re Not Dead is both devastating and inspiring, highlighting the importance of perseverance in the face of profound adversity.

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This book tells the life story of the author, through the eyes of his character named Hero. It is a story that is written in the minds and hearts of people we usually tend to overlook.

It is a very simple read. There are no complex terms, no bullshitting around. Just descriptions of what we could name “life after death”. Do not expect it to be fueled with action and whatnot, because it is not. You may all now be thinking: “Well, that sounds boring.”. And maybe you are right, but it depends on where you stand in life, where your viewpoint lays. If you want to read this story because you do not have anything else to do, and want to shorten your free time with something, then this story will be a drag and nothing special. If you, however, want to read the story, because you want to know what is going on in the head of someone whose life changed in the flicker of the light, then this is a story for you.

Now, while the process and time-lapse is done well enough, I personally missed more dialog and humor. The author describes what he was told that happened, or how he met new friends, but there is no back story to that, no anecdotes. Well, there are some, but the author did not go into details, and just stated that as a fact, but I believe that something like that was needed to keep the reader from getting bored. There was some humor, do not get me wrong, but I felt like it needed more.

Same with the dialogs that I mentioned. The author keeps telling us, how others told him what happened, but never provides a dialog. I know that things like that are hard to remember, but as a reader I want to be engaged. I want to see the situation unravel in my own mind. There was not enough of this, but again, do not get me wrong, there was some, and that some was done brilliantly. For example, the point when that doctor told our Hero that he will never walk again. I wanted to punch her in the face so bad that you cannot even imagine. And knowing that it is actually a true story made me feel even angrier. A story like this needs as much emotion as we can get, and I feel like there was not enough of that.

Another great point was that we were able to see the struggle. Not just the physical struggle, but the mental struggle too. And I must take my hat off to the author, because there was not a single time in the book that he would pity himself for being in his situation. No matter the falls, he just held his head up high and did not just pass his obstacles but destroyed them. Proving everyone wrong along the way.

I will pick this book up again and again, whenever I feel like MY life is bad. If nothing else, the book title will always stay with me. You’re not dead, Hero. Thank you.

Book recommendation: 7,5/10